9 Best (High Quality) Circular Saws: 2019 Circular Saw Guide

If you are in the market for an important power tool to add to your arsenal, a circular saw is a must-have. Whether you are just starting with a home project or you are a seasoned professional, a circular saw is a great companion for cutting through many different materials. These saws aren’t just meant for working with wood, they can be used with stone, plastic, and even metals. Blades can be interchangeable so you can choose the right one for the material you will be working on, making circular saws extremely adaptable. These types of saws come in several different models to best accomplish your specific cutting tasks.

Best Cordless

DEWALT DCS570B 7-1/4″

  • 3 and 4-year protection plans
  • Up to 57-degree bevel capacity

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Best Overall

Makita SP6000J 6-1/2-Inch

  • Protected against motor burnout
  • Hefty cutting capacity

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Circular saws are marked by their round blades that spin to cut through materials. They are usually hand-held but could also be connected to a machine. These saws are often powered through the use of cords that connect to an electrical outlet, but there are other models, like cordless options, that offer extended mobility for the user. Projects that require cutting will obtain the best results with the use of a saw that promises precision, especially if you are cutting multiple pieces that will need to come together in the end. Circular saws are best utilized for making straight cuts or cutting angles. If you are looking to use a saw for small, curved cuts, this won’t be the best option for you.

Circular saws have some basic components like the handle, the bevel adjustment, the blade, the plate, and the cord (unless it’s cordless!). The bevel adjustment is important so that you can make angles easily. The plate can be found right in the center of the saw and stabilizes the tool so you can keep your cuts accurate. The blade can be changed out as needed, depending on the type of material you will be cutting. Some saws have additional features like lighted guiding systems to keep your lines steady and built-in dust blowers to keep debris from cluttering your fresh cuts. Read on to discover the different types of circular saws that are available, which type of work is best accomplished with each one, and a list of recommendations for your upcoming circular saw purchase!

 6 Different Types of Circular Saws

  • Worm Drive – Worm drive saws include a 90-degree worm gearing with a heavier weight that is best used for work on harder woods and long rip cuts. This type of circular saw can be difficult to operate and carries with it a low RPM and higher torque, providing extra power and strength. As you make use of this type of saw, you will notice that oiling it on a regular basis is a requisite to keep it working optimally.
  • Sidewinder (In-Line) – The sidewinder circular saw uses a motor that must be in line with the rotating blade. This means the spin will be extra fast, usually ranging up to 6000 RPM. These saws are generally lightweight and compact with the blade settled on the right-hand side. Usually considered easy to handle, the sidewinder is good for even overhead work.
  • Hypoid – The hypoid circular saw incorporates a distinct type of bevel gear with an axis that falls out of line with the meshing gear. Since the axes don’t intersect, larger diameter shafts are accommodated more easily. The hypoid gear has helical teeth, which means they form a spiral. This makes it ideal for those tough jobs that require a heavy-duty tool, like when working with dense woods, such as plywood and hardwood. This saw has an enclosed motor system that prevents you from changing the gear oil. While this low maintenance feature can be considered a plus, it also means that once the lubrication lessens, the motor will eventually wear out.
  • Cordless – Cordless circular saws offer mobility when you don’t want to be tied to an outlet while you work. This means you can tackle projects outdoors and move across different job sites freely. If you are working toward building an infrastructure that will eventually house electrical outlets, it is especially helpful to start off with a cordless tool. The downside to a cordless circular saw is its limited power. Corded models can really ramp up and maintain consistency throughout use. However, a cordless model will eventually drain the battery after continuous use, rendering it weaker as time progresses.
  • Corded – Corded circular saws are an excellent choice for heavy work that requires a steady infusion of power that remains consistent for hours on end. The cutting power will remain constant and you won’t need to pause and recharge if you just want to get the work done in a day. Corded saws are more lightweight than cordless options because the power source is coming straight from the wall and not being carried around within the tool. With a corded model, you will need to pay mind to your surroundings and avoid getting the cord wrapped around the items in your working space.
  • Compact – Compact circular saws have the big plus of being easier to handle than some other, heavier models. They can be very versatile and strong enough for regular use on small jobs, but you may want to upgrade the blade if you are looking to cut through thicker materials. Keep in mind that the size of these compact saws does play a role in the amount of power provided. Be sure to review the depth and scope of the work you would like to perform to ensure this option will meet your expectations.

7 Key Considerations when choosing the Best Circular Saw

  • Type of Saw – The type of saw you choose is highly dependent on the type of work you will be using it for. Cordless options can be great for versatile projects that require you to move around effortlessly, without being tied down to a wall socket. However, if you are looking for extra power, a corded option may be the best for your use. For heavy-duty projects that are ongoing, you will likely want to invest in a worm drive or a hypoid circular saw, so you have enough power to complete your work. Compact circular saws also offer versatility and can be an easy-to-use option for small house projects. First, determine how often you will be using the tool, what kinds of materials you will be working with, and how much power you will need to accomplish the job. Next, review your circular saw options and make the best choice for your needs!
  • Speed and Control – The speed and control of your circular saw will determine the ease of use when working with different materials. You may not require the speediest of tools and may find that the ability to easily control the saw is more important. Check out each model’s specs to make the appropriate purchase for the project or projects that you would like to complete.
  • Bevels – The bevel can be adjusted to different degrees, depending on the model of the circular saw. The adjustment piece, typically a knob, is located close to the front of the saw and is meant to change the bevel angle while you are using the saw for cutting. You can use the bevel stops to preset the extent of the cut, creating a safeguard to ensure your intended cut is accurate. Be sure to check out the maximum angle of the saw’s bevel to choose the correct model for your project.
  • Ease of Use – Ease of use is another important component when choosing the right circular saw. If you are planning to work on overhead projects, you will need to consider the weight and ease of handling to reduce the strain on your arms and shoulders. The sidewinder and compact circular saw options can offer the kind of flexibility required for these types of projects. However, if you are looking to power through some dense materials, ease of use will come with some of the more powerful circular saw options, likely corded, to deliver the power you need.
  • Price – Price can be the ultimate determining factor when making a circular saw purchase. Only you know how much you are willing to invest in a tool like this. If you make a living with the use of a circular saw, it is appropriate to invest in a solid model that will keep your work efficient and consistent. If you only have a few small house projects to complete, a more affordable option may be better suited for you. Review how much bang you want to get for your buck and decide based on your individual needs.
  • Build Quality – The build quality of your circular saw will determine its longevity. Take a look at the components of a saw to review the material it is made of. If a bevel adjustment knob is flimsy, for instance, your cuts will lose accuracy. You will also need to review the quality of the blade you are working with and make sure it is optimal for the cuts you will be making. A quality, durable tool will cost you, but cheap components may cost you more in the long run.
  • Power – The desired power of a circular saw is directly related to the extent of the work you will need it for. Heavy duty projects will be a lot easier and faster to complete when your tool is heavily powered: think low RPM and higher torque. Also, consider a corded option when you need to maintain consistency and ensure efficiency.

best circular saw guide

Overall Best Circular Saws in 2019

Makita SP6000J 6-1/2-Inch Plunge Circular Saw

Key Features:

  • 12.0-amp motor powers through various materials
  • Splinter-free finish through precise cutting
  • Speed is electronically controlled
  • Protected against motor burnout
  • Hefty cutting capacity

This Makita circular saw is perfect for accurate cuts and that splinter-free finish that is usually only accomplished with the use of a table saw. The cuts with this product will come through smooth and straight, giving you a solid sense of control and satisfaction. This saw is ideal for use with sheet material, trimming, remodeling, and finish work.

You can combine this product with a guide rail system to obtain the evenest cuts with only slight tear-out. This style gives you accuracy and mobility so you can keep it working with you as you travel throughout different job sites.

The large cutting capacity is united with a 12-amp motor that allows for consistency in speed, even cutting, and a smooth finish. If you require a bevel cut, you can accomplish that with this saw. The bevel capability it carries is between -1-degrees and up to 48-degrees.

Pros:

  • Different settings available for ultimate precision
  • 12-amps for smooth, even cuts
  • Mobile for use at home and the job site

Cons:

  • Not available for international shipping

DEWALT DCS570B 7-1/4″ (184mm) 20V Cordless Circular Saw with Brake (Tool Only)

Key Features:

  • Up to 57-degree bevel capacity
  • Brushless motor for consistent speed
  • Runtime allows for 100 crosscuts in a 2×4
  • 2-9/16-inch depth of cut

Best Cordless Circular Saw – This Dewalt circular saw with brake sports a brushless motor that gives off 5200 RPM and maintains consistency in speed, no matter the load. The blade is 7 ¼-inches and is capable of a 2-9/16-inch deep cut and up to a 57-degree bevel cut.

Keep in mind, this is a baretool shopping option. The battery is sold separately but you can choose any of the 20V batteries, depending on your desire for additional runtime or a more compact shape.

Pros:

  • Cordless product for ease of use
  • 3 and 4-year protection plans available
  • High bevel capacity for versatile cuts

Cons: 

  • Baretool, battery sold separately

SKIL 5280-01 15-Amp 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw with Single Beam Laser Guide

Key Features:

  • Single beam laser for precise cuts
  • 14-amp motor with 5300 RPM
  • Spindle lock to make blade changes easy
  • Bevel capacity up to 51-degrees
  • Includes dust blower for optimal visibility

Best Budget (Value) Circular Saw (Under 50) – This SKIL circular saw is equipped with a single beam laser that offers a guidance system for precise cuts at home with its 24-tooth carbide blade. The bevel capacity of this saw is up to 51-degrees, offering the adaptability you are seeking for your home projects. It also includes an indicator light so you can be certain the tool is fully powered for the job ahead.

The spindle lock and on-tool wrench on this product make it easy to change out blades and keep your projects going seamlessly. The guarded trigger prevents accidental start-ups, keeping you safe during use. The dust blower attached to this circular saw clears up your working space so you can maintain strong visibility as you make precise cuts.

Pros:

  • Spindle lock for easy blade changes
  • Dust blower included
  • Laser guidance system

Cons:  

  • Does not come with a rip fence

Makita SH02R1 12V Max CXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Circular Saw Kit, 3-3/8″

Key Features:

  • 1500 RPM for speedy cuts
  • Bevel cut capacity up to 45-degrees
  • Cutting depth is adjustable up to 1-inch
  • Cordless product

Best Compact (Mini/Small) Circular Saw – This Makita circular saw kit provides the power and speed you need to complete your projects. It comes in a compact case that includes 12-volt batteries that are lithium-ion slide-style. What does this mean? Compared to your pod-style batteries, you get better balance which also gives you a better efficiency rate.

This saw is very lightweight, coming in at only 3.5 lbs. The 1-inch cut capacity makes it perfect for getting through several types of materials, including plywood, melamine, and even drywall. If you are looking for a tool that helps you navigate tight spaces, this compact saw is a good choice.

Pros:

  • Compact size
  • Full kit, including battery
  • Ergonomic handle

Cons:

  • Not a variable speed saw

SKILSAW SOUTHPAW SPT67M8-01 15 Amp 7-1/4 In. Magnesium Left Blade Sidewinder Circular Saw

Key Features:

  • Left blade sidewinder
  • Constructed with magnesium for comfort and strength
  • Top torque for increased speed and productivity

Best Circular Saw Under 100 – This SKIL Southpaw circular saw is a lightweight option that provides the visibility you need to make those expert cuts. The blade sits on the left side so you can clearly see where you are cutting to ensure accuracy throughout your projects. The 15-amp motor has dual fields that keep the motor cool and consequently make it a longer-lasting product.

This saw’s maximum cutting capacity is 7 ¼ inches and the bevel maxes out at 56-degrees. This is a great product for working on ceilings, siding, and even decks. This saw is adaptable and works well with both hard and soft wood types.

Pros:

  • Versatile design
  • Left blade for improved visibility
  • Magnesium build quality

Cons:

  • Does not come with a case

3 More Top Rated Circular Saws:

DEWALT DWE575SB 7-1/4-Inch Lightweight Circular Saw with Electric Brake

This Dewalt circular saw is compact and lightweight, weighing only 8.8 lbs. It has a 15-amp motor and the bevel capacity reaches up to 57-degrees. The integrated dust blower keeps your workspace clean to improve both visibility and accuracy for cuts. Even though it is a compact size, it delivers power with a 5100 RPM. The ToughCord system implemented inlith this model provides extra resistance to keep the cord durable. The trigger and handle have an ergonomic design to keep your hands and wrists comfortable as you work.

Makita 5007F Circular Saw

This Makita circular saw has a 15-amp motor and a 5800 RPM. It is designed with a lower guard that aids with making narrow and bevel cuts. It also includes two built-in L.E.D. lights to improve visibility and precision. The base is made of aluminum which protects and encourages long-term use. It also comes with a dust blower to keep the cutting line clear of debris.

Milwaukee M18 2630-20 18 Volt Lithium Ion 6-1/2″

The Milwaukee M18 circular saw is cordless and includes electronic brakes to immediately stop the blade when you have completed a cut. The soft grip handle makes it easy to hold, even under slippery conditions. The bevel adjusts up to 45-degrees and it powers up to 2500 RPM. Magnesium guards on the blade keep it protected in case of an accidental fall so you can keep the tool for long-term use.

Our 2019 Circular Saw Guide

  1. Determine how much control and torque you need. The most important step when choosing a circular saw is knowing what you will be using it for. If you are inexperienced and are looking for your very first circular saw, a sidewinder is a great option. It will give you the power and precision you need to complete house projects without extra features that you will not make use of.
  2. Consider how often and where you will be using the saw. If your projects are going to be completed outside in the shed where there is no electrical output, a cordless, battery-operated saw may best suit your needs. However, those tough projects that require getting through difficult materials will be best completed with the power that runs through a cord via an electrical outlet.
  3. Will you be cutting angles? Check out the bevel adjustment capacity. The bevel capacity ranges depending on the type of model you will be working with so just make sure to double check that the angles you want to cut will get the perfect finish!
  4. Consider how much power you will need for the job. Will you be using your circular saw frequently and on tough materials? You may want to invest in a heavier duty model like the worm drive or a hypoid saw. If your projects are more the do-it-yourself type, a more lightweight model will work just fine.
  5. Need help with guidance? Opt for built-in laser guiding systems or L.E.D. lights. An incorporated dust blower is ideal for improved visibility as well. If you are new to the world of circular saws, a guiding laser system could save you from making cutting mistakes. Working late into the evening? Consider a saw with built-in lighting to keep your workspace visible. As you delve deeper into your cuts, you will notice how much dust is kicked up and how it annoyingly lands right on top of the lines you are cutting. A saw that includes a dust blower will keep your cutting line visible so you can avoid mistakes.
  6. Consider a built-in wrench if you will be using multiple types of blades. Different materials will be cut more easily with different blade types. If you plan to work on diverse projects and will be investing in multiple blades, you may want to consider a model with a built-in wrench to make changing out those blades a much faster and simpler process.
  7. Check out the handling of the product. Will it be comfortable for long-term use? Users with large hands may find compact styles uncomfortable. If you are in-store, it is advised you handle the product to be sure the feel is appropriate for continued use. Soft grips and ergonomic handles can make all the difference when you are dedicated to projects that will take multiple hours.
  8. Make your purchase! Once you have considered all the available circular saws and their individual features, dive in and make your purchase. Before you know it, you will be elbow deep in new projects, bringing your cutting plans to fruition.

FAQ:

  • Who makes the Best Circular Saws? – Makita, SKILSAW, and Dewalt have strong reputations as manufactures of circular saws. Each company has strong products that stand the test of time and wear. With unique features and a proven track record, you can select the right saw for your needs from any one of these trusted sources.
  • What is the advantage of a worm drive circular saw? – A worm drive circular saw has a blade that is positioned in front of the motor. It works by turning the blade through a worm drive that works down the shaft, adding more torque so you can more easily cut through dense, tougher materials.
  • What is the lightest circular saw? – Compact circular saws will be the lightest option if that is your primary concern. Some other, more powerful saws are available at lesser weights but the absolute lightest will be a compact option.
  • Should I get a corded or cordless circular saw? – Corded and cordless circular saws can work great for different types of projects. If you want to keep mobile and avoid corded tangles and a tie to wall outlets, you will likely appreciate a cordless model. However, if you really need that extra power to get through long projects, you will find that being plugged in keeps the motor of your saw strong and consistent.
  • What is a brushless circular saw? – A brushless circular saw is one with a motor that doesn’t experience friction or drops in voltage, which, in turn, extends the life and productivity of the saw. The brushless motors use magnets instead of carbon which produce less heat and encourage a stronger performance.
  • What is the difference between a circular saw and a jigsaw? – A circular saw is meant to power through different materials quickly and with precision. It has a spinning blade that makes it perfect for cutting straight lines. A jigsaw has a much smaller and narrower blade that is optimal for cutting curved lines. If the project requires intricate, crafty cuts, a jigsaw is the better tool for the job.

Conclusion

Knowing the different types of circular saws that are available and what type of work each one is best used for is a great start for proceeding with your purchase. This guide has given an overview of the many types of circular saws on the market, some tips and tricks for deciding which to buy, and a few answers to frequently asked questions to get you primed and ready for your next important buy!

Remember, the sidewinder is a great, lightweight choice that can be used flexibly, even able to help you get to those overhead spaces with a sense of ease. With a motor right next to the blade, the spin can be adjusted to higher speeds. There are many cordless options to keep you mobile as you work throughout the house or job site and since these types of circular saws don’t require frequent oiling, you will have less maintenance to concern yourself with. The worm drive saw is a longer and narrower option with a less speedy blade that delivers more torque. Best used for cutting through wider materials, this one will require some ongoing maintenance to keep the gears lubed and working optimally. The hypoid saw shares similar features as the worm drive, but the gears work very differently. This design affords improved blade contact and encourages power and productivity while keeping motor size and sound to a minimum. With its sealed motor system, ongoing oil maintenance is not a requisite.

As you search for your perfect circular saw match, it will help to acquaint yourself with the different types of blades available. Ripping saw blades are ideal for clean, smooth cuts on wood materials. Combination saw blades are very common and seamless when used with saws that have limited power. Crosscut saw blades will deliver a smooth, clean cut when working against the wood grain. If you will be venturing away from wood, you may find yourself shopping for a blade without teeth to get through stone or concrete. Whatever the work you have in mind, you will find the right blade and the more you know, the better equipped you will be to make the right purchase and get started on your project.

Whether you are embarking on a new adventure with a set of do-it-yourself projects, are focused on mobility and versatility, or require ongoing power and durability, there is a circular saw available that will meet your needs and keep you productive!

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